Abuja – The Border Communities Development Agency has appealed to the National Assembly to integrate nine local governments and a state not captured in the 2006 Amendment Act as the lawmakers work toward amending the Act establishing the agency.
The Executive Secretary of the agency, Mr Numoipre Wills, made the plea while speaking with State House Correspondents after a delegation of the agency paid a courtesy visit to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) at the Villa.
Wills also appealed to the lawmakers to speed-up the amendment process.
According to him, there are about 3,000 border communities in 21 states of the federation with only 96 local government areas out of the 105 captured by the Act.
“When I tell you communities, there are about 3,000 communities; Oyo State is supposed to be a border-community state; there are 21 Border States; Oyo state is not included in the Act.
“So these things must be addressed; there are about nine local governments; the Act only captured about 96 local governments; meanwhile they are supposed to be 105 local governments.
“So we need to make sure that all those things are addressed in an Act.
“And the National Assembly – the last 7th Assembly – worked assiduously to make sure that all those areas, areas of funding, are addressed because the present Act makes the funding very difficult.
“In the 2003 Act, it was robustly provided, but in 2006 the Act was. amended
Wills said that funding remained a major challenge facing the agency and said there was need to address it to provide security and amenities in the border communities.
He said that the vice president, being the chairman of the agency’s board, was optimistic that effort would be intensified toward the development of the border communities.
He said border communities should not continue to be neglected in order to have a sense of belonging in the country.
He said that what was happening in one border community should be used to assist other border communities noting that efforts should be intensified to avoid another Bakassi in any other part of the country.
“You have to develop all the border communities at the same time.
“Yesterday it was Bakassi, at the other time it was the Niger Delta, today it is the North East. So, if you neglect any part you don’t know what will happen.
“It is important that we simultaneously develop or don’t neglect any of the border communities,“ he added.
The executive secretary said that the agency raised a number of issues confronting the border communities while the vice president called for regular briefs from the agency to identify the areas of need. (NAN)